Thieves target vehicles left running to warm up in Calgary, Red Deer
8 of 16 vehicles stolen this week were unlocked and unwatched in Red Deer
Officials are warning of the risks of warming up vehicles by leaving them idling, after eight were stolen in Red Deer in a week, while Calgary police found hundreds of vehicles idling empty with keys inside in a two-hour period.
A total of 16 vehicles have been stolen in Red Deer since Dec. 1, RCMP say.
In many instances, victims watched as their vehicles were driven off by the thieves.
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"Especially on cold weather mornings, thieves are cruising residential neighbourhoods and the parking lots of high-traffic businesses, looking for vehicles that have been left running," said Cpl. Karyn Kay in a statement.
"If you leave your vehicle unlocked and running, your chances of victimization are high — it takes mere seconds for an opportunistic thief to climb in and drive away."
Meanwhile, Calgary police found 236 vehicles with keys left inside during a two-hour check between 6 and 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
On that day, a total of six vehicles in Calgary were stolen while being warmed up.
RCMP recommends using a spare key to lock your vehicle if you aren't going to be inside to warm it.
Remote vehicle starters, steering wheel club locks, and alarm stickers are also recommended anti-theft tools.